The world running organisation the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS) is delighted to declare the Suisse Gas Milano Marathon as the winner of the inaugural AIMS Green Award.
The award, which highlights good environmental performance in marathon events, was presented to the successful Italian race during the inaugural AIMS Best Marathon Runner Awards Gala Dinner last night (Friday 8 November 2013) in Athens, Greece.
Also shortlisted for the award were Sweden’s Goteborgs Varvet Half Marathon and Germany’s BMW Frankfurt Marathon.
Earlier this year the SuisseGas Milano Marathon was also awarded with ReSport Silver certification (issued by the Council for Responsible Sport – USA*), becoming the first Marathon in Europe to reach this goal.
The SuisseGas Milano Marathon used a number of different initiatives to help achieve their environmental goals. These included race participants being given a free day ticket for public transport, while the Milan Municipality agreed to an “ecological day” banning all private motorised transport on the day of the race.
Participants had to register their entry online and specifically opt in if they wanted to receive finisher awards and t-shirts, reducing the number required. To further reduce the amount of waste the event generated, volunteers were trained to help with the collection of waste and recycling, the race t-shirt suppliers reduced their packaging which helped save 80kg of plastic and 60% of the heatsheets distributed at the finishing line were collected to be reused for future events.
Non-profit organisations were featured at race day events, were given space on the SuisseGas Milano Marathon website and had their information included in newsletters. These organisations also received donations from the SuisseGas Milano Marathon with fundraising sitting at approximately €130,000.
As well as this, the SuisseGas Milano Marathon collaborated with the municipality of Milan on the mapping of the city’s first running route as a useful tool for runners. The race also prepared training charts to help participants work towards the target time they were hoping to achieve and to encourage first-time athletes the race developed a special award for the first eighteen-year-old who crossed the finish line.
Candidates for the AIMS Green Award were judged upon a number of areas including the impact the race has had on promoting environmentally friendly practices in marathon events, how volunteers contribute to the success of the project and the ability for the race to educate younger generations about the benefits of sport and environmental protection. This is in line with AIMS’ own environmental guidelines and the IOC Olympic Movement’s Agenda 21. **
The AIMS Green Award was set up in collaboration with George Kazantzopoulos, Member of the IOC Sport and Environment Commission and President of the Institute Team for the World Environmental Alliance 2004+, a non-governmental not-for-profit organisation which was the scientific partner of AIMS in the development of the AIMS Environmental Guidelines.
A screening and research process by a jury panel made up of AIMS and independent judges lead to a shortlist of three candidates. From this shortlist the AIMS Board of Directors then made the final award selection decision.
Paco Borao, President of AIMS said: “I am delighted that the SuisseGas Milano Marathon is the first winner of the AIMS Green Award highlighting good environmental practice. They have developed an excellent strategy on minimising the environmental impact their marathon event has. There was an excellent selection of entries for the award providing some strong competition, including the runners up, the GöteborgsVarvet Half Marathon and the BMW Frankfurt Marathon. All the races who entered have done some highly acclaimed work to show how environmentally conscious they are. I hope they can act as role models for other races around the world as this is such an important issue for us all.”
Andrea Trabuio, SuisseGas Milano Marathon’s Race Organiser added: “We are really honoured to receive this award, especially as we are aware of the high levels of environmentally friendly initiatives that AIMS races around the world have implemented. We would like to thank AIMS and the sponsor of the gala dinner OPAP for their support and recognition of our work. We believe that the Best Marathon Runner Award, this new initiative of AIMS, will not only recognise the sport achievements of the best marathon runners every year, but will promote further our sport and will project to the whole community worldwide the myriad benefits this sports brings along with it. We are delighted to be in Athens, the home of AIMS Headquarters, in order to receive the award during the AIMS BMR Gala, to attend the 7th AIMS Marathon Symposium and enjoy the Athens International Marathon on the Authentic course.”
The purpose of the BMR Award Gala is to: I. Announce and honour the best male and female Marathon runners of the year through the AIMS BEST MARATHON RUNNER (BMR) Award. The BMR Award replaces the AIMS World Athlete of the Year Award.II. Recognise and honour exceptional Marathon figureheads and personalities for their contribution to the development of the Marathon movement.III. Publicise and promote the best practice and initiatives of AIMS members (350+ race organizers) through the establishment of special environmental and social awards.IV. Enhance the role, programs and services of AIMS. The event was staged at Athens College Theater, 15 Stefanou Delta Street 15452 Psychico, Athens, Greece on Friday 8 November 2013.
AIMS is a member based organisation and since being established in 1982 has grown to a membership of more than 350 of the world’s leading distance races, from over 100 countries and territories. AIMS Members come from every continent on the planet and include the Athens Classic Marathon, formed on the legend of Pheidippides, the Greek soldier-runner who ran from the town of Marathon to Athens in 490 BC to announce the Persians had been defeated in the ‘Battle of Marathon’. Other AIMS members include many of the world’s greatest distance races in history such as the Boston and the Berlin Marathons. The three key objectives of AIMS are: 1. To foster and promote distance running throughout the world2. To work with the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) on all matters relating to international road races.3. To exchange information, knowledge and expertise among members of the association
ReSport Certification recognises a significant achievement where there has been the successful completion of a socially and environmentally responsible sporting event. This can be achieved in a number of areas including waste management, impact on the climate, community involvement and health promotion.
Certification is based on the number of credits you receive for your work in each area. The first level you can be awarded is ‘Certified’, before working up to ‘Silver’, ‘Gold’ and finally ‘Evergreen.’
Agenda 21 was established in June 1992 at a meeting of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) as a plan of action for the introduction of sustainable development in the 21st century.
In 1999 the Olympic Movement (OM) adopted Agenda 21: Sport for Sustainable Development. Based on the UNCED model, it lays down a clear pathway for sustainable development throughout the sporting world. Stakeholders include International and National Sports Federations, National Olympic Committees, Organising Committees of the Olympic Games (OCOGs) and Youth Olympic Games (YOCOGs), sponsors, government partners, the sporting goods industry, athletes, youth and the media.
The starting point for The Olympic Movement’s Agenda 21 is that national approaches and policies on sports and environment should recognise that athletes need a healthy environment in which to train and perform at their optimum. In addition, the document embraces the three tenets of sustainable development: Improving socioeconomic conditions, conservation and management of natural resources and strengthening the role of major groups such as women, young people and indigenous people.